Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Savior Jesus Christ and from our Advocate, the Holy Spirit.
There are two words for time in the Greek language, kairos and chronos. Chronos is calendar time. It is the day, hour, and minute time. Kairos is the appropriate time, the fulfillment of time, the right time, God’s time.
Seminary students learn the classic illustration of this is a woman’s pregnancy. The child will be born at chronos, a specifically recorded date and time, but until the child is born the mother is expecting her child to be born at kairos, the right time, the moment when her body is ready to give birth and the child is ready to be born. Great joy comes when kairos and chronos come together.
What is God’s timing?
The answer to that question is determined by your view of the events of the world, your understanding of God, and your belief in how the two are connected. Here are four general understandings:
There are no God directed events, but all events are related by cause and effect.
There is no God, all events are cause and effect, but they are also entangled across dimensions.
God created all, but does not interact with events directly, only through indirect influence upon humans.
God is in and through all things and events, with both direct and indirect influence.
Even if you do not believe there is a God directing or influencing the world, clearly, some things, like the establishment of democracy or the ability of humans to fly, are dependent upon foundational beliefs, prior events, and preceding inventions happening first. There are many steps between clay tablets and mobile phones. There is a sense of timing in historical events, that they happen at the right time.
The Scriptures describe God’s timing in Romans 5:6—“at the right time Christ died for the ungodly”—and many other places. My own experience has been that events happen at the right time, the Godly time, kairos. Even so, it is a mighty challenge to discern when is kairos.
Personally, my family is wrestling with the question of whether or not this is kairos for my mom to die. She has been ready to die for some time and has made more preparations for her death than anyone else I know. Nevertheless, medically speaking she could have chosen to live longer, if she had the will to do so. She discerned that this was the right time for her to die. And so she is dying. Many of you have experienced this challenge.
At the same time, St. Mark’s is considering whether this is kairos to revitalize our mission and to renovate the building. Personally, I am convinced that this is the time to Move Forward, To Be God’s Grace in Action. This is a pivotal moment in the life St. Mark’s. We can decide to live the abundant life of grace in the midst of a world that is desperate to experience grace, or we can decide not to be a grace-filled church. So much of life is ungraced. This is the time to be the life, love, and forgiveness of God with one another, Wapakoneta, and the world. Yes, this is our time; it is God’s time, a Kairos time!
Grace and peace,